Theresa May dances in to fresh Brexit row

PUBLISHED: 13:09 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:01 28 August 2018

Theresa May meets staff and pupils during a visit to the ID Mkhize High School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: PA.

Theresa May meets staff and pupils during a visit to the ID Mkhize High School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: PA.

The prime minister has rubbished her own chancellor’s no-deal Brexit economic forecast as a “work in progress”.

Prime minister Theresa May dancing with students and staff at ID Mkize Secondary School in Cape Town
Photo: PA / Stefan RousseauPrime minister Theresa May dancing with students and staff at ID Mkize Secondary School in Cape Town Photo: PA / Stefan Rousseau

During a visit to South Africa, Theresa May repeated claims that no agreement with the EU “would not be a walk in the park” but rather hopefully added it “wouldn’t be the end of the world”.

She added the government is putting in place measures to ensure it can “make a success of no deal” and remains confident it can do similar with a “good deal” – which she maintained it was possible to agree.

May added that Philip Hammond was highlighting “work in progress” figures released in January when he published a letter just hours after the government started revealing its no-deal Brexit preparations.

The chancellor was accused by Brexiteers Tory backbenchers of launching another “project fear” by claiming GDP could fall and borrowing could be around £80 billion a year higher by 2033/34 if Britain resorted to WTO terms.

Hammond said such an impact on GDP would have “large fiscal consequences”.

He also said this analysis was undergoing a “process of refinement” ahead of a parliamentary vote on any deal.

May, asked about the timing and content of Hammond’s intervention, said she had previously labelled the data as a work in progress.

The PM, who is in South Africa on a trade visit, later performed a toe-curling dance with children on a visit to a secondary school.

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